Fug File: Fug The Cover

Fug or Fab the Cover: Various International September Issues of Vogue

Here in the USA, we got Beyonce. In Australia, there was a great cover of Nicole Kidman. Japanese Vogue brought Katy Perry. But what did the rest of the world find in their mailboxes this September? LET’S FIND OUT TOGETHER.


Well Played Cover: Keira Knightley on Elle’s 30th Anniversary Issue, September 2015

These are fantastic. Keira Knightley has never looked better or more fun or more dramatic, and I’d pick up any one of them. Take note, Vogue.

[Photos: Elle.com]


Fug or Fab the Cover: Beyonce on Vogue, September 2015

I hate to say it, but I think this cover is conceptually kind of boring. Beyonce is a super super superstar, and totally gorgeous, and therefore it makes sense to put her on your September issue (although it’s interesting to me that they’ve got her on the cover without anything — beyond Beyonce Inc, which, in fairness, probably would be incredibly interesting, if we ever saw the nuts and bolts of it, which we won’t — to promote) but when this popped up in my email, my first reaction was that they spun The Wheel of Acceptable Vogue Cover Combinations and came up with BEYONCE and MARIO TESTINO in A FANCY APARTMENT and just went with it. (Testino also shot the T Swift Vanity Fair cover. What with that, and this, and the Cambridge Family Photos, everything is coming up Testino lately.) (BTW, other possible combos on the The Wheel of Acceptable Vogue Cover Combinations include RENEE ZELLWEGER and ANNIE LEBOWITZ in A FIELD,  CAREY MULLIGAN and PATRICK DEMARCHELIER in ANOTHER FIELD, and KARLIE KLOSS and BRUCE WEBER in A RANDOM ROOM. We may have actually lucked out.)

On the other hand, her face looks great.

PS: I do think it’s interesting that you can buy this issue of Vogue from Amazon. To me, that is brilliant. You don’t want an entire subscription to Vogue, but you’d love this particular issue to show up with the rest of your mail, so beep bop boop over to Amazon and there you go. Sorted. To, I am sure, the great dismay of newsstands and bookstores everywhere, yet again.  But I think this is going to help Vogue‘s sales tremendously, because people hate to leave the house.  (This issue is, in fact, as I type this, #46 in Books, which…sigh. Amazon, I know they call the magazine “the book,” but it’s not ACTUALLY a book.)

PSS: if you want to check how you’re doing in this year’s Vogue Predict-A-Cover, here it is. I am doing TERRIBLY.

[Photos: Vogue]


Fug or Fab the Cover: Kristen Stewart on Nylon

K. Stew has gotten a LOT of covers lately. And I can’t say she’s not working them. This one is pretty good, right?


I mean, yes, that tee shirt looks like you accidentally threw it into the dryer with a packet of razors, but the blazer is great and I feel like she’s FINALLY figured how what to do with her face on these things. Maybe the haircut just makes her feel more like herself, but while this photo would be weird if you ran across it on, say, InStyle, to me it feels bang-on correct for Nylon.

[Photo: Nylon]


Well Played Cover: Miley Cyrus on Marie Claire, September 2015

She’s maybe a bit dead-faced, and her lips are flavorless, but I STILL think Miss Miley actually looks quite good on this cover. Inside, she throws a little shade with regard to Taylor Swift (but not AT Taylor Swift). With regard to the “Bad Blood” video, she said:

“I don’t get the violence revenge thing.  That’s supposed to be a good example?  And I’m a bad role model because I’m running around with my titties out?  I’m not sure how titties are worse than guns.”

I CANNOT TELL YOU how much I HATE the word “titties.” From a man or a woman. It’s the most infantilizing word. I honestly think I prefer every single other slang term for “breasts” to that one. Anyway. I see where Miley is going, and it’s a clever way to try to make people stop and think while also guaranteeing herself a headline. Miley, in fact, often says things that are so bluntly self-aware that they make me like her. But as much as I get that she’s gesturing at a larger point about society’s reaction to nudity, the context feels like a stretch. The “Bad Blood” video is silly — all those celebs in it for 2 seconds each, and the nicknames; nothing really HAPPENS – but I don’t think it’s a YAY GUNS YAY VIOLENCE affair. It’s a wannabe sci-fi movie. It’s a video made to illustrate a song about a feud, set in a futuristic world. I didn’t hear Miley complaining about herself with regard to Mad Max when everyone was all up in Charlize Theron as a female-empowerment hero, and I certainly don’t think anyone’s citing “Bad Blood” as a reason Taylor Swift might be a role model (more that she is articulate and well-dressed and seems to have her head on relatively straight, and I personally like that she’s a musician who actually plays multiple instruments). To me that bite basically exposes that Miley IS defensive about how she’s perceived, even though the rest of the time she pretends she’s totally FINE about people not liking her insistence on nudity, because she’s TESTING US with it, and she doesn’t care, and she’s happy with herself, and it’s OUR PROBLEM, and yada yada yada. Also, “Bad Blood” is just one video; Miley’s boobs are like three years of repetition. It’s just interesting when a person who really doesn’t want you to think she cares what people think, exposes that she totally cares what people think.

[Photos and story: Marie Claire]


Fug the Cover: Demi Lovato on Cosmopolitan, September 2015

This cover has caused a bit of a stir, I gather, as there are some people who think it’s too racy for Cosmo’s usual place in the grocery store shelves and have been trying to cover it up, or turn it over, or just get it stricken altogether.

Demi Lovato on Cosmopolitan, Sept 2015

Demi released the following statement about it, which I saw on Instagram when Joanna Coles reposted it:

What these individuals who are protesting don’t understand is that for the first time in a long time I feel incredibly EMPOWERED and the MOST BEAUTIFUL I’ve ever felt on this magazine. [...] It took soul searching and a bit of time before I learned to embrace my body therefore I could not have been more excited to do this shoot. I think what’s more important is showing women there’s NOTHING WRONG with embracing their bodies and sexuality.

I have thoughts. The first one being, yes okay, you can see a lot of her cleavage, but how is this any MORE scandalous than Nicki Minaj’s cleavage-baring onesie, or a cover with SEX SEX SEX written all over it, or Madonna in bondage gear biting a string of what could be pearl anal beads for all anyone knows? Yes, it’s a gynecologically short dress, but honestly, her modeling it sideways actually takes AWAY a lot of the shock value of that, and sincerely, we’re seeing less of her cleavage than 90 percent of America has seen in Us Weekly or on a Jenndashian’s Instagram feed. I’m not saying we need to start sticking Penthouse down in the trenches with Cosmo and Glamour, but I do think this is a situation where people are going too far to try and shield the world from anything remotely challenging.

My second thought,though: While I have a lot of admiration for the head-on and bluntly honest way she’s dealt with and addressed her struggles, and am thrilled to see Demi saying that she to feels good in her own skin and proud of her body, this hardly LOOKS like her body. What’s more, it feels very specifically posed to show us as little of that body — aside from the cleav — as possible, which defeats the extremely inspiring and rousing purpose of celebrating a girl who’s come out the other side of eating, drug, and emotional issues. At first it felt like her head slapped on someone else’s form, but honestly, her face also looks significantly photoshopped. Look at her here, or even here because it’s a similar angle, and then check the cover again. Lord knows I’m not criticizing anyone for getting retouched; if Hell ever sprouted ice castles and I got put on a magazine cover, I would be like, “Great, FIX ME, make me blurry if that’s what you have to do.” But I’m not someone whose face is my brand, or who is trying to be a positive role model for young kids. Demi Lovato trades on her authenticity and honesty. If I were Demi, I’d look at this and sigh and say, “Yes, that girl is pretty, but I am ALSO pretty, and that girl is only barely ME.”

The situation inside is a little better and honestly, could’ve been a less troublesome cover all-around:

Read More